4 Facts You Never Knew About Yaupon, the Native Plant Growing in Our Backyard.
Yaupon is a fascinating plant and as a country, we know relatively little about this hearty, indigenous wonder. One of the most exciting parts of our job is getting to share all of the interesting information we uncover about Yaupon with our growing audience! Check out the information below and let us know what questions you have regarding the plant, and we will do our best to keep you informed.
Yaupon has gone by many names - yaupon, yaupon holly, black drink, American tea plant, appalachine, Carolina tea, cassina, Christmas-berry tree, coon berry, and South-Sea tea.
Yaupon is an Ilex – just like it’s better-known South American cousin plants yerba mate (ilex paraguaysis) & Guayusa (ilex guayusa). Available records indicate that 25 species of ilex are used for tea by indigenous groups in South America, North America, and the Sino-Tibetan mountainous area. The caffeine content of these three of the species (vomitoria, paraguariensis, and guayusa) have been confirmed.
The habitat for yaupon holly is varied and includes maritime forests, dunes, forest edges, pine flatwoods, and wet swamps. Yaupon is a large shrub that forms thickets from horizontal roots or rhizomes that spread. In our experience, we can see the desperation in which yaupon grows towards the sun so whether it’s out or up, these hearty plants will find as much sunlight as they can.
As you can see in the map below, Yaupon grows along the gulf coast and up the east coast of the US. Where we are in Texas, the Yaupon grows under pine and live oak trees in clay and sand. We’ll see it along fence lines and it grows through abandoned buildings, anywhere wild or left to return wild.